Rochester walks in memory of Ashleigh Iserman to support boater safety this weekend

This Saturday, June 8, join other walkers and runners as they make their way to Thelma G. Spencer Park for Ashleigh’s 4th Annual “Light the Lakes” walk.

The event is set to drive home the importance of safety for young boaters and watercraft users while sharing the memory of Ashleigh Iserman.

Picture 1“My daughter had gone to a friend’s graduation party the day before her own and she was tragically killed on a personal watercraft,” Jan Iserman, Ashleigh’s mother said.

While pulling tubers on the back of a jet ski, Ashleigh’s attention was on the tubers. She was killed when her watercraft collided with a nearby boat.

“It was her first time on a personal watercraft—her only time,” Iserman said. “So we met other parents who had lost children in the same way and we became more and more involved in the importance of (boating) education.”

The Ashleigh Iserman Boating Safety Foundation was born to encourage all waterway safety and education.

“We get to be a voice in legislation on a national level,” Iserman said.

Through the last few years, the organization has helped change the legal age for operating a personal watercraft, such as a jet ski, from 14 to now, 16 years old. The legislation is called the Ashleigh Iserman Law and took effect in 2011.

Later in 2012, Michigan amended the boating safety certificate law, requiring anyone operating a boat to have the boating safety certificate.

With the money they raise, the group offers scholarships toward boating safety classes to help state residents earn the certificate, if courses are not offered for free, Iserman said.

“It’s good information and good safety. We just want people paying attention and we want everyone to have a good summer and a safe summer, so that’s really what our goal is.”

Ashleigh_2-28-13_Front_PageThe money raised during this year’s event will also go toward purchasing teddy bears sporting life vests.

In the event a family encounters a tragedy involving a child on the water, hopefully this “would bring some comfort to them,” Iserman said.

The walk will kickoff at 8:30 a.m. and run until 10:30 a.m. Adults can register for $25—includes a T-shirt; and kids may register for $15, also includes a T-shirt. Families can register for $70.

“We’re looking for good weather and a good turnout, more importantly, a safe summer for everybody,” Iserman said.

To learn more about the upcoming walk or about the Ashleigh Iserman Boating Safety Foundation, please visit

About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at

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